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The Short Life of Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes

Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes

Thursday, October 12---Music is the message for the 2nd annual Turks and Caicos International Film Festival, which launches next Tuesday with an ambitious program of film premieres, information seminars and live concert events...all set on the beautiful Caribbean archipelago of the Turks and Caicos Islands.

One of the films having its International Premiere at the event is generating big buzz. A profile of the short and tumultuous life of Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes of the all-female hip hop group TLC is the subject of THE LAST DAYS OF LEFT EYE, a provocative new documentary film.

Controversial, flamboyant, and spontaneous are probably the best words to describe this singular artist. Born in Philadelphia, and raised throughout the world as the daughter of a U.S. Army serviceman, Lisa Lopes became one of the most important trendsetters in the 1990s music scene. After relocating to Atlanta during her young adult years, Lopes became heavily involved in that city's thriving music industry.

However, it was Lopes and her two bandmates, Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins and Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas who really put Atlanta on the map. Originally starting as a trio called SECOND NATURE, the group re-named themselves TLC, which stood for the first initial of each member's nickname. They went on to become one of the biggest hip hop groups of all time.

Hip Hop Superstars TLC

After breaking into the scene, TLC went on to great success under Arista's new LaFace label, which was managed by superstar producers, Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds and L.A. Reid. They scored three major hits on their 1992 debut album, "Ooooooooh on the TLC Tip". With success at hand, Lopes ventured off into the world of stardom, and doing so brought her major headlines.

In 1995, Lopes made national and international headlines after she set the home of her boyfriend, Andre Rison, ablaze after a major fight. Lopes, who was sentenced to 5 years probation and therapy at a halfway house, never was able to shake that incident from her personality, and along with Lil' Kim, became one of hip hop music's bad girls. Along with her TLC bandmates, Lopes filed for bankruptcy that same year, claiming that her producers had withheld royalty payments from her and her bandmates.

Lopes At The Grammy Awards

With the release of their sophomore album, "Crazy Sexy Cool", TLC underwent a change from their childlike antics to a sense of maturity as they continued their metamorphosis as major recording stars. That album, which became sold 11 million copies became one of that decade's biggest selling albums, netted the group two Grammy Awards, and produced three hit singles.

But career success could not contain her personal demons, so Lopes began to involve herself in holistic and spiritual practices that brought her a sense of peace and tranquility. It was during a trip to Honduras, that Lopes began to get herself involved in several projects that benefited many victims of Hurricane Mitch, which struck Central America in 1997. She then returned many times to Honduras to help the local people establish health care clinics and other social services.

After the release and promotion of TLC's 1999 album, "Fanmail", Lopes started to shun her bandmates in order to develop an independent identity. Often disputing with them in public, Lopes worked hard on a solo debut album, "Supernova" which was released internationally but never released in the United States due to poor radio play.

Lopes then signed a deal to release an album under the alias N.I.N.A. (Not Into Name Alternatives) with controversial producer Suge Knight. That project never came about. On Thursday, April 25 while returning from the village where she called home for the past few years, Lopes was the only fatality in a car crash that occurred when her car swerved off the road near the town of Roma, Honduras. Lopes, who was to celebrate her 31st birthday the next month, died instantly.

Lisa Lopes Funeral

The documentary film chronicles Lopes' troubled childhood, her journey through the hardscrabble world of hip hop music and, finally, her involvement in humanitarian causes, which may be her greatest legacy.


Sandy Mandelberger
Festivals Editor

Comments (3)

Miss you Left Eye!! Cant

Miss you Left Eye!! Cant wait till your album "Eye Legacy" comes out on Jan 27th '09

left eye's amazing/sad life

i miss her teroublely

left eye

im sad

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Online Dailies coverage of the 3rd Turks and Caicos International Film Festival, October 16 to 21, 2007

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